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Sensory diet

At home sensory circuit




Alerting activities are exercises or suggestions that will help to provide energy to the children to get their bodies and brains regulated and ready to learn. They are used to stimulate the senses and to increase body awareness. Below are some easy ideas for alerting activities.


Alerting activities need to be closely monitored to make sure the child does not become too overstimulated - ‘high’. It is a good idea to use visual timers and countdowns to support the child’s understanding of when an activity is finished.

Organising activities

Organising activities are exercises or suggestions that will help to support the children to process information and get their body and brain working together. Below are some easy ideas for organising activities.



Organising activities may need to be modelled to your child. They might need your support to physically complete an activity but it is important to allow your child enough time to process what you’re asking them to do and allow them time to try it independently first.

Calming activities

Calming activities are exercises or suggestions that will help the children to feel calm and regulated, ready for learning.  Below are some easy ideas for Calming activities.



Calming activities can be used when your child is overstimulated ‘high’. Your child might not like all of the above suggestions but you might already know some activities that help your child to feel calm and regulated.

Vestibular system

Vestibular system is responsible for:

  • Controlling balance and co-ordinating body movements.
  • Development and maintaining muscle tone.
  • Seeing clearly whilst moving.
  • Spatial orientation.


Below is a list of behaviours you may recognise if a child is avoiding or seeking vestibular input.

Vestibular avoidance


Vestibular seeking



  • scared of movement
  • fearful of playground equipment/ stairs/swings etc
  • dislikes being picked up
  • can appear clumsy/un co-ordinated
  • avoids stairs/uses two hands to hold onto rails.
  • unable to sit still
  • needs to be in constant motion

(rocking, swinging, spinning, swaying)

  • runs instead of walk
  • prefers to be upside down- hangs head off couch.



Activities to try at home if your child is seeking vestibular input:

  • Trampoline/trampet
  • Space hopper
  • Scooters/scooter boards
  • Outdoor climbing equipment
  • Jumping on the spot
  • Gym ball/peanut balls
  • Running
  • Lying over stable surface and moving head up and down
  • Swings/slides/playground equipment
  • Yoga (see youtube – cosmic kids)
  • Animal walks





Behaviours You May See

Over Responsive

Sensory Seeking

Under Responsive

  • Difficulty tolerating other people moving/hugging the body
  • Avoids moving or stretching limbs
  • Adopts a rigid or tense posture
  • Avoids physical activities
  • Prefers low key activities
  • Very uncommon to be over-responsive within the proprioceptive system.
  • Seeks ‘crash and bang’ movements
  • Seeks tight squeezes
  • Likes tight spaces
  • Hangs off items e.g door handles
  • Self-harm
  • Climbing
  • Pushing against others
  • Leaning against others
  • Leaning against tables
  • Falling/poor body awareness
  • Tip toe walking
  • Hand flapping/clapping
  • Leans on people
  • Heavy footed
  • Seeks extra movement e.g crashes, bumps
  • Heavy handed
  • High pain threshold
  • Chews on edible objects
  • May find some activities more difficult e.g riding a bike
  • Presents as floppy with weak muscles

Activities to try at home if your child:

  • Squashed under mats, cushions, large bean bags
  • Tight squeezes
  • Massage
  • Wheelbarrow walks
  • Swimming
  • Weighted equipment (back pack/lap pad/ blankets)
  • Heavy jobs – carrying books, pulling a trolley, pushing a pram, carrying shopping
  • Resistive gloop / theraputty
  • Making bread dough / saltdough / baking
  • Tering cardboard boxes for recycling
  • Dance sack/ lycra body wrap
  • Crawling through tunnels
  • Rolling / stacking tyres
  • Therabands
  • Give the children space
  • Tug of war






  • Fidget toys – keep trying until you find the right one!
  • Proprioceptive activity before messy play, wrting skills or fine motor tasks.
  • Doing work on the floor
  • Dough disco (see youtube)
  • Massge
  • Spray bottle paining
  • Crawling
  • Tape pulling


Oral Tactile


  • Sucking through straws/ sports bottles (calming)
  • Blowing musical instruments
  • Blowing bubbles/ paper footballs/ bubble towers
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Crunchy snacks (alerting)
  • Chewy snacks (calming)
  • Paint with straws